Mason Marshall picked up his ninth save in BYU's 5-4 victory over Southern Utah. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah—In the last baseball matchup between BYU and Southern Utah University, the Cougars pulled off a 5-4 victory in an eventful seventh inning despite an injury-depleted lineup Tuesday at Miller Park.
“A win is a win,” BYU head coach Vance Law said. “We anticipated a good game from SUU. I’m pleased our guys were resilient enough to come back. Our relievers came in and did their job, which was critical for the win.”
Cougar pitchers recorded 10 strikeouts during the game, seven thrown by starter Matt Milke and three by James Lengal. Mason Marshall came in for his ninth save, tying the BYU record for second-most saves in a season.
David Parry of BYU (19-21) earned the win for a 3-0 record and Gage Bigelow of SUU (15-29) picked up the loss for a 0-2 record.
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Parry tagged Thunderbird Bryson Kenolio out at home after the runner tried to touch home on a wild pitch, preventing any SUU runs in the seventh inning. With the bases loaded on walks in the bottom of that frame, Brock Whitney hit a grounder past the first baseman and continued Cougar momentum with an Austin Hall run. Center field Stephen Wells also ran home on that play due to an SUU error by right fielder Marcus Romero, tying the game 4-4. BYU’s Kelton Caldwell tagged and ran home on sacrifice fly from Jaycob Brugman which was caught in left field to take the 5-4 Cougar lead.
The rally softened a pre-game blow that left the team lacking its starting catcher. During the last play of infield warm-ups, catcher Wes Guenther was injured in the mouth by a wild throw. Unable to play, Guenther was scratched from the starting lineup and Dakota Hernandez took his place.
“I think because of that injury, Hernandez had a whale of a game behind the plate,” Law said. “He did a tremendous job calling pitches.”
In the opening inning Romero singled to right field, sending home Brad Royer for the first run of the game and a 1-0 SUU lead. BYU couldn’t answer in the bottom of the inning and continued into the second with no runs.
With two outs, Royer batted in Taggart Lunceford for the Thunderbirds’ second run of the night. At the bottom of the second, Jarrett Jarvis doubled to left field but back-to-back outs left him on base at the end of the inning.
The Cougars left the field quickly in the third after Milke threw three consecutive strikeouts, but were again unsuccessful at the bat.
A sacrifice grounder to third base advanced Thunderbird Lunceford into scoring position, giving Bo Cuthbertson the chance to bat him in. Royer batted in Tariq Staton to end the inning with SUU ahead 4-0.
BYU second baseman Adam Law doubled deep to right field on BYU’s first at-bat of the fifth inning. Two batters later, Wells’ doubled between the right and center fielders and brought Law home for the Cougars’ first run of the game. Wells continued to home on a double by Hall, the only co-captain in Tuesday’s lineup, to bring the score to 4-2 for SUU before BYU’s three-run seventh inning captured the win.
The Tuesday-night victory was the final non-conference matchup of the season for BYU, who has less than a month left of regular-season competition.
SUU's baseball program will be discontinued at the end of the 2012 season with the school's move to the Big Sky Conference.
The Cougars hit the road for a return to West Coast Conference play in a three-game series against Pepperdine in Malibu, Calif., beginning with a 3 p.m. PDT Thursday matchup. Friday’s game also begins at 3 p.m. and Saturday’s competition begins at 1 p.m.